From the Personal Representative (December, 2008)

posted May 13, 2015, 3:27 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 13, 2015, 3:27 PM ]
Brethren and friends, when I joined Scottish Rite thirty years ago, I never dreamed I’d have the delightful experience I enjoyed with others of our valley a few weeks ago at the 50th anniversary celebration of the California Scottish Rite Foundation. Bob Rowan 32° KCCH, Dick Myers 32° KCCH, Hal Leister 32°, Rachel Sense, one of our Language Center Clinicians, and I had the pleasure of attending the November 14 event, and were highly impressed at the presentations made that evening.
In addition to the address by Ill. Ron Seele 33°, Grand Commander, and the words of Ill. Bill Stovall 33°, SGIG for California, we were entertained by an inspiring group of students who are scholarship recipients, and several people who related the experiences they had with our language centers. It is obvious that the vision of the founders of our Speech Therapy Program was phenomenal. The motto of our own Brother Henry J. Kaiser 33 °, who is the founder of Kaiser Permanente and Kaiser Industries, was “Find a Need and Fill It” and that motto is no more pertinent than our work in children’s speech therapy.
One of the speakers, a mother with a 6 year old son told of bringing her son to the local clinic, and at the time of his graduating from the program, she was so impressed with their program that she went to work for the clinic and she related incident after incident of the “miraculous work” of the clinicians in correcting the speech problems of children. 
She described a father, whose daughter at 2 ½, could only speak at a level generally associated with a child of ten or eleven months. The father was surly and withdrawn, projecting the feeling that he blamed himself for his daughter’s speech difficulties. The child, though when alone was cheerful and happy, when she tried to communicate, became frustrated and angry. She was afflicted by an impediment that is rare but fairly well known by speech pathologists, and which I couldn’t remember, much less pronounce. This was no comfort to the father; he was unmoved. Under the care and treatment of the clinician, as the little girl’s speech improved, so did her outlook on life, and so did her father’s attitude. As she blossomed, so did his personality, and at her graduation from the program, they were both the epitome of a bright happy father-daughter combination.
One of the scholarship recipients, a senior DeMolay reflected such gratitude that his attitude was infectious. He told us that the funding from the scholarship was just enough to free him from the necessity to take a part time job in order to stay in school, allow him to concentrate on his studies, and maintain a GPA of over 3.5.
I am often asked the question, “Is Freemasonry relevant in today’s world?” To these students and to these young children, Masonry is not only relevant, it’s vital to their ability to succeed in life. Grand Commander Seele noted, in his address that we are instrumental in giving young people, “the ability to proceed with a life that is not defined by their manner of speech or their ability to communicate, but by their desire to succeed and to make a contribution to their world”.
As I sat there and listened to those testimonials to the effectiveness of our efforts and the difference we have made in the lives of so many people, I couldn’t help but reflect on what a tremendous privilege and honor it was for me to be in that place. Also, my mind went to the question of how important it is that we, as Scottish Rite Masons, intensify our efforts to support the work of our own clinic and scholarship programs. 
At San Jose Scottish Rite, I am proud to say that we take second place to no one in our excellence in the field of charity, but we must not rest. We must strive to be better than ourselves, and better than our efforts of yesterday, noble though they may be.  
Am I asking for money? In a way, yes, but I am asking you to give something more important than that. I am suggesting that we all redouble our efforts to add new members to our ranks. With numbers comes financial support, and we have one of the greatest charitable programs in existence that generates a sense of fulfillment in all who participate. We add ten or fifteen men to our rolls each year and lose twenty or thirty.  Our funding program is great, but the needs of the community are greater. We have thirty or forty brothers that work hard for the organization, but we need a hundred. 
Do what you can, my brothers. The rewards are great and clear. It is the satisfaction of people helping people, a rare commodity in today’s world.

Bob Winter - Personal representative of the Deputy of the Supreme Council in California

The Rite Word - December 2008, Volume 2, Issue 12